Johannesburg - The good thing about going into the last eight or so matches of the Absa Premiership season is that five title contenders will play each other. These encounters will surely determine where the title eventually lands.
By the end of next month, we should have a clearer indication of which side is likely to lift the championship title.
Kaizer Chiefs have three other challengers – Sundowns, Cape Town City and SuperSport – in April, which should put their title credentials to the test.
Games in hand do not guarantee points in the bag, except when that team is Sundowns.
The Brazilians might have dropped seven points in their previous three league games – two draws and a loss – but they are still within touching distance of the teams in the top rung.
Pitso Mosimane will be hoping that their blip spurs them on in the coming games to prove it was just a temporary lapse.
Sundowns are a mere five points behind leaders Cape Town City, but have played four games fewer than Eric Tinkler’s side.
Next month will prove something of a watershed stint for the Brazilians, with six matches in 28 days – including their Nedbank Cup clash with Golden Arrows – for what could be truly season-defining fixtures.
Win all, and Sundowns might as well start celebrating. Lose, however, and the title race may well be back on. These fixtures will prove whether the defending champions have what it takes to stake a serious claim on the league title. The good thing is that other contenders will also be trying to cancel each other out, with top-of- the-log City having a date with second-placed Bidvest Wits.
Starting on Saturday, Downs will get a chance to eliminate their nearest rivals – Chiefs – from the race and use them as a stepping stone towards the top. The two sides meet in an eagerly awaited clash at the FNB Stadium.
From the race
Sundowns will also play other title challengers SuperSport United, who are three points and three games ahead of them at the moment.
Another victory here will see them march towards the summit of the table. On the other hand, if they are to be serious contenders, Chiefs need to win as many of their games as possible – if not all of them – starting with the Sundowns clash.
They dropped two valuable points last weekend when they were held to a two-all draw by bottom-of-the-log Baroka FC.
Interestingly, Wits also have City and SuperSport on their menu in April and so could help eliminate each other from the race.
Following their shock exit from the Nedbank Cup at the hands of minnows Acornbush, City just have the league campaign to see off and will then channel all their efforts towards the title race.
Wits and SuperSport have Confederation Cup matches to deal with, which might also affect some of their league fixtures. The first-leg encounters of that tournament are scheduled for the weekend of April 7 to 9, with the return games happening a week later.